Resistance bands, also known as exercise bands are portable, inexpensive, and lightweight exercise equipment that comes with a variety of resistance from highly stretchable to heavy-duty strength.
They're varying in sizes, length, and shapes to accommodate your specific fitness goal. And they are often color coded.
They are versatile in use. You can do just about any type of strength training exercises with them.
In fact, you can work your arms, legs, butt, shoulders, and your abs and core using just the band, without needing heavy equipment.
Resistance bands can also accommodate your fitness level and ability very easily.
Whether you're recovering from injury or simply working to get in shape, band exercises have a long history in those settings and have been proven effective at toning the muscles, allowing incremental increases in the stress placed on the muscles (1, 2).
If you're just getting started with resistance training, band exercises are a great point to start. They are beginner friendly and allow you to exercise muscles concentrically and eccentrically from various angles.
Also, another benefit that sets resistance band training apart from other equipment is that the bands create and keep your muscles under constant tension throughout a movement.
This produces a much efficient workout, keeping your muscles engaged throughout.
How to choose a resistance band?
The type of band you choose depends on your fitness level and workout plan.
The tube bands with handles are great for all types of exercises including chest press, push-up, and squats to press or (thrusters). They are also beginner friendly, yet adjust well to more advanced challenge by increasing the resistance.
Mini resistance band is great for lower body exercises such as clamshell, glute bridge, and fire hydrant. They too come with various resistance, making it adjustable for all fitness levels.
Therapy bands are a long strip of a rubber band with no handle. They are often seen and used in stretches and frequently used in other practices such as Pilates and yoga.
Below, there are 40 + resistance exercises including both types of bands, tubing bands with handles and mini resistance band.
Band exercises are grouped by main major muscle groups, which include abs and core, legs and butt, arms, shoulders, and chest.
Each band exercise includes detailed instructions and visuals that show how to execute the movement correctly with proper form.
You can perform band exercises to target a specific body part just like you do with free weights or you can combine movements to create a full-body workout with your band.
For most exercises, try aiming for 8 to 15 reps for 2 to 3 sets per exercise.
Also try our sample exercise band workout suggested at the very end. This workout includes exercises using both types of bands
Since the bands are light and portable, they are perfect for home workouts and on-the-go workouts.
1. Use a door anchor to set up a resistance band at your chest level. Grab the handles with both hands, palms facing each other. Extend your arms straight in front of you and back away until there's no slack.
2. From that position, step back with your right foot and bend both knees to lower into a lunge. As you return to standing, quickly pull the handles toward your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together to return to start. That's one rep. Continue to complete the prescribed number of repetitions, then switch legs.
2. Squat to Press
1. Grab handles with an overhand grip and stand on the band with feet hip-width apart. Position hands at shoulder height.
2. Sit your hips back, bend at the knees to squat until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up, engage your abs, and press knees out over your toes. Pause for 1-2 seconds then push up to standing while extending your arms straight overhead. Repeat and complete your reps.
1. Set up your band in a knee high position at a door using a door anchor. Grab one handle with both hands. Hold the band at waist height, arms extended straight in front of you, and back away until there's no slack in the band. From that position, lower into a squat.
2. As you stand, raise your arms overhead, keeping your arms straight and finishing with your elbows close to your ears. Pause, then return back to the start position, and repeat.
1. Start with a mini band positioned just below your knees and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can, driving your knees outward against the band's resistance. Pause, then slowly push back up to the starting position. That's one rep. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.
5. Glute Bridge
1. Place your mini resistance band loop around right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor with your hands on your sides, palms facing up. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and pull your toes up toward your shins so only your heels touch the floor.
2. Contract your glutes to lift up your hips off the floor until your hips, knees, and shoulders are all in a straight line. Pause, then lower back down. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Squeeze your glutes and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
6. Single Leg Glute Bridge
1. Lie face-up on a mat. Bend one leg at the knee and keep the other leg straight with your shoe sole facing the ceiling. Put your band across the arch of the foot on the straight leg.
2. Hold handles at your side. Press the heel of the bent leg into the floor to raise your hips off the ground. Lower hips back down to the ground and repeat.
7. Donkey Kick
1. Hold the handles and place your elbows and knees on the ground. Keep your back straight. Place the band around your feet with the center of the band resting on the right foot.
2. Holding the band firmly and your abs engaged, extend your right leg straight out behind you. Return by drawing your knee forward, but don't let it touch the ground. Repeat.
8. Pull Through
1. Set up your band in a low position using a door anchor. Step over the band with your back to the door and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Reach down between your legs to grab the handles. Walk away from the anchor point, holding the handles between your legs.
2. Tighten your abs and hinge over, keeping your knees slight bent. Push your butt back toward the anchor point as you lean forward and reach your hands with the band back between your legs. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to come back up to standing. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Tips: Stand up nice and tall, fully extending your hips and squeezing your glutes.
1. Set your band on a low position and attach an ankle cuff to your ankle. Facing the fixed point, balance yourself on the other leg.
2. Keeping your head and your chest up, move the resisted leg back as far as you can while keeping the knee straight. Return and repeat. Switch legs.
10. Hip Abduction
1. Set up your resistance band in a low position using a door anchor. Stand up straight with a good posture perpendicular to a door. Attach an ankle strap to your outside ankle and step away from the door enough so that you can feel the tension in the band. You may need to split your stance a bit.
2. Balance on the other leg and move your attached leg away from your body. Feel the tension in your outer thigh, then slowly return to the start position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions, switch sides and repeat.
11. Standing Hip Adduction
1. Anchor the band at ankle height to a sturdy door, and stand sideway with your left side toward the anchor. Attach the ankle cuff just above the ankle of your left foot and step out to create tension on the band.
2. Stand and balance on your right leg. If necessary, hold on to a chair for support. Keeping the right knee slightly bent, lift your left leg and bring it directly to the inside and across your body, allowing the resistance band to pass in front. Pause for 1-2 secs, then return. Repeat and switch sides.
12. Lateral Band Walk
1. Put a mini band around your ankles, and stand in a quarter squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Step your right foot to the right, then follow it with you left, feeling resistance from the band. Complete a few steps to the right, and then complete a few to the left.
1. Grab and hold the band handle in each hand. Place the middle of band under right foot. Bring your handles up to your chest.
2. Tighten your abs and bend your legs to lower into a lunge. Pause for 1-2 secs, then return back to the to standing position. Complete all reps before switching sides.
14. Fire Hydrant
1. Place a mini resistance band just above your knees then get down on all fours. Make sure your back is flat and your head and spine are neutral. Pull your shoulders downwards away from your ears and tighten your core muscles.
2. Lift one leg up and to the side, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees and lifting to hip level. Keep your weight distributed evenly between your hands and knees. Pause at the top, then slowly lower to return to the start position, resisting the pull of the band as you return. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions. Switch sides and repeat.
Tips: Keep your pelvis stable. Do not lean to one side and keep your buttock muscles engaged throughout.
15. Forward Band Walk
1. Place a mini resistance band just above your knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart creating tension on the band. Sit your hips back and down with heels slightly off the ground and knees pushed away. Keep your lower back slightly arched.
2. Abs tight, and take a step forward at 45-degree angle as far as you can. Stay in the half squat position and take another step forward in the same manner with the other leg. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions. Aim for 10 steps on each side. 20 steps total on both sides to complete one set.
16. Prone (Lying) Leg Curl
1. Lie facedown on the ground with an ankle cuff attached to your right ankle. Scoot away from the anchor to create tension.
2. Tighten your core and bend your leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your glutes as far as you comfortably can go. Slowly return your leg to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions, then switch sides.
1. Place a loop band around both legs just above your knees. Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees. Keep your legs stacked and feet in contact with each other.
2. Tighten your abs as you raise your upper knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Don't allow your lower leg to move off the floor. Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
1. Wrap the band around your back just under armpits while holding handles. Loop the band an extra time around each hand to tighten it. Kneel down placing handles against the floor then get into a high plank position.
2. Tighten your core, then slowly lower chest down to the floor. Press back up until arms are fully extended.
19. Bench Press
1. Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on your back flat on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand, position them at chest height so your thumbs touch the outside of your chest.
2. Extend the arms and press straight up in front of your chest to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Pause for 1-2 secs, and lower back down and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
20. Standing Chest Press
1. Secure the band to a sturdy door at chest height. Grab a handle in each hand with your back to the band. Step forward until there's not slack in the band and position your hands at chest height.
2. With elbows up and palms facing down, press the handles forward straight out in front of your chest together at the same time until your arms reach full extension. Squeeze your chest muscles and pause for 1-2 secs. Slowly return to starting position and continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.
21. Chest Fly
1. Attach the band to chest or shoulder height on a sturdy door. Stand away from the door in a split stance (one foot in front of the other). Keeping your arms straight out--holding the handles at shoulder height by your chest.
2. Arms fully extended, bring hands together in a hugging motion. Return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
22. Rear Dell Fly
1. Place both feet wide on the band and grasp onto both handles, palms facing in. Bend from the waist and keep your back flat and core engaged. Bring the handles to meet in the center.
2. Keeping your arms straight and squeezing the shoulder blades together, raise them out to the sides. Lower down to the starting position and repeat.
23. Lat Pull
1. Set your band in a sturdy object and hold both handles. Step back until your arms are straight. With your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, lower your torso toward the floor. Extend your arms past your head.
2. Keeping your elbows out to the sides, pull the handles toward you until your hands are next to your shoulders. Return and repeat.
24. Bent-Over Row
1. Grab a handle in each hand and step on the band with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold the band at the arm's length, and bend at your hips. Lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Keep your lower back naturally arched.
2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band up to your upper abs. Pause, then return. Repeat.
25. Seated Row
1. Sit down upright with your legs extended out in front of you. Wrap the band around your feet 1 to 2 times. Grasp the handles with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other.
2. Sitting nice and tall, bend at the elbow and pull the band toward your ribs. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
26. Pull Apart
1. Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the middle section of the band with both hands at shoulder level with palms facing down.
2. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band out and back until your shoulder blades contract. Hold for 1-2 secs, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
27. Lat Pull-Down
1. Attach band on top of the door. Kneel facing the anchor so you are facing the band. Grab the handles and extend your arms over your head.
2. Pull the handles down and squeeze your elbows to your sides as you flex the elbow. Return and continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.
28. Shoulder Press
1. Stand in the middle of a resistance tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding each handle, position your hands at shoulder level with palms facing out.
2. Press straight up above your head until your arms are straight, but do not lock your elbows. Pause, then lower back down slowly and repeat.
29. Upright Row
1. Place your feet on the band and grasp onto the handles. Hold them together in the center with palms facing back.
2. Row the handles up towards your chin letting your elbow flare out to the sides. Pause at the top, then lower them to the starting position and repeat.
30. Front Raise
1. Place both feet on the band and grasp onto both handles, palms facing down.
2. Keep your arms straight as you raise them out in front of you, and stop at the shoulder height. Pause at the top and lower them to the starting position and repeat.
31. Lateral Raise
1. Place both feet on the band and grasp onto both handles, palms facing in. The further apart your feet are,the harder this will be.
2. Keeping your arms straight, raise the handles out to the sides coming up to your shoulder height. Lower them to the starting position and repeat.
32. External Rotator Cuff
1. Start by lying on your back with your feet pulled towards your buttocks and your hands in a mini resistance band. Position your upper and lower arms to form a 90° angle. Your fingers point towards the ceiling and the thumb of the moving hand points outwards.
2. Push your heels and lower back firmly into the ground. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears as far as possible and stretch the band by moving one thumb outwards towards the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body.
Tips: Push your shoulders downwards and press them together as if you were squeezing out a lemon as you externally rotate your arm.
33. Biceps Curl
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your feet over the middle of the band. Grab a handle in each hand with palms facing forward.
2. Pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow. Pause, then slowly lower back down.
34. Triceps Extension
1. Grab a handle in each hand. Place your right foot on the band and keep your left hand by your side. Raise you right hand up and bend. Keep your palm facing up and elbow pointed to the ceiling.
2. Extend your right arm straight up squeezing the triceps at the top of the movement and return. Switch sides.
35. Triceps Kickback
1. Attach a band to a door frame at knee level. Grab the handles and walk backward until the slack tightens. Bend slightly at the knees and forward at the hips. Maintain a flat back throughout.
2. Keep your arms at your sides and bend at the elbows, keeping them tucked by your sides until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Pull the band back behind you until the arms are fully straight, using your forearms only. The contraction should be felt exclusively in the triceps. Pause 1-2 sec, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat again to complete the prescribed number of repetitions.
36. Triceps Press
1. Place the mini band around the middle of your hands and place your left hand on your right shoulder. Make a fist with your right hand and then bend your right elbow at 90 degrees.
2. Slowly press your right hand toward the floor, fully extending your arm and squeezing through your triceps. Pause for 1-2 secs, then reverse the move. Keep your shoulders back and chest high and stand up straight with your knees slightly bent. Aim for 15 to 20 reps on each side. Switch sides and do 2-3 sets.
37. Reverse Wood Chop
1. Anchor the band near the floor on a door with one handle. Hold the handle with both hands next to your hip. Take a few steps away to create tension on the band.
2. Keeping the arms straight and using your core, rotate the body and bring the arms up diagonally while squeezing the abs. Rotate the hips and knees as you turn. Return and switch sides.
38. Plank Pulls
1. Anchor a resistance band to a door. Assume plank position and grasp the band handle in one hand. Lift one arm up and extend it straight overhead and parallel to ground
2. Pause, then continue for the prescribed number of repetitions. Rest, switch sides and repeat.
39. Walking Plank
1. Place your mini resistance band around your wrists. Get into a high plank position with hands directly under the shoulders.
2. With your core engaged and body straight, walk your right hand forward as far as you can. Bring left hand to meet it, keeping band taut and hands shoulder-width apart. Step your left hand back to start, then a right hand. That’s one rep. Alternate your leading hand with each rep. Aim for 15 reps each.
Tips: Keep your core engaged and your body in one line throughout the movement.
40. Side Plank
1. Anchor a resistance band to the lower part of a door about a foot off the ground. Get into a side plank position facing the exercise band.
2. Bend your elbow and pull the handle to your rib cage. Pause and reverse the movement.
Tips: Only perform this exercise after you’ve mastered the side plank.
1. Use the anchor to set the band at a low position and lie with a fixed point behind you, knees bent, and feet flat. Bend arms to hold the end of the band above your shoulders.
2. Keeping hands above shoulders, curl torso off the floor into a crunch. Pause, then slowly lower to the first position. Repeat.
42. Kneeling Crunch
1. Attach the band to a high anchor door nob and kneel down, grabbing a handle in each hand.
2. Extend the elbows out at shoulder-level. Crunch down toward your hips while contracting your abs. Pause for 1-2 secs and slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
43. Reverse Crunch
1. Use the anchor to set the band at a low position and attach the ankle cuff to your ankles. Scoop back to create tension on the band. Lie flat back on the floor and bend your knees at the 90 degrees.
2. Lift your hips off the floor and crunch toward your chest, contracting your abs. Pause, then slowly return to the first
30-Minute Full-Body Resistance Band Workout
* Get ready to put it all together with this 30-minute band workout. This full-body resistance band workout routine combines both the tubing resistance band and mini resistance band loop to work your whole body. Aim for 10-15 reps per exercise, then repeat each circuit 3 times before moving to the next. Rest 30-60 seconds between circuits.
Resistance Bands We Use:
Need your own resistance bands to use at home or on the go? Here's what we use in this workout:
- Resistance Band Tubing with Handles and Ankle Straps: This 11 piece durable exercise tubing set with soft handles comes in 5 levels of resistance to accommodate all your fitness needs; $ 34.95.
- Mini Resistance Band Set: Long-lasting and capable of stretching up to three times in length, these mini loop bands travel well and come in 5 resistance levels; $22.
Resistance band poster available for purchase for both sets of resistance band: Tubing and mini resistance band.
There you have it!
40 plus band exercises to work your whole body.
You don't need a pile of weights to get in shape. Resistance bands can be just as effective or more. Give these exercise bands a try and let us know your favorites in a comment below.